Allegations of sexism at the Left Party: Wissler wants to stay and clarify

Status: 04/23/2022 1:37 p.m

Your future could also be decided this weekend: Left Party leader Wissler is campaigning for the trust of the board of directors after the resignation of co-boss Hennig-Wellsow – and promised a comprehensive clarification of the sexism allegations.

Left Party leader Janine Wissler has announced a comprehensive clarification of the suspicion of sexism in the party and rejected allegations of a cover-up. The cases must be processed as well as possible, she said before a board meeting of the Left Party in Berlin.

A decision could also be made there by tomorrow as to whether the board of directors will be re-elected early at the party conference at the end of June after the resignation of co-chair Susanne Hennig-Wellsow. Wissler countered speculation about her own withdrawal. She will continue to run the party alone for the time being, she emphasized. It is now a matter of leading the left, together with the entire board, through the difficult time and preparing for the party congress.

On Wednesday, 14 months after taking office with Wissler, Hennig-Wellsow surprisingly announced her immediate resignation. She justified this with unfulfilled expectations in the renewal of the party, personal motives, but also with the way the left deals with sexism in its own ranks.

Allegations of sexism weigh on the party

Wissler is accused of not reacting in time to the allegations, which also affect her former partner. She rejects the assumption that she was aware of allegations of sexual harassment in the Hesse state association before the end of 2021. When she found out about the allegations, she informed the state board immediately. In mid-January, she informed the office of the Federal Left and asked that the process be forwarded to the appropriate trust group. She herself did not want to do this in order to avoid any suspicion that she wanted to exert any personal influence.

Wissler admits omissions

On behalf of the board, Wissler apologized to everyone who had had sexist experiences with the left. She self-critically admitted that it was not enough to set up a trust group made up of members of the board in October to create a contact point for those affected. “Today we have to realize that this structure is not sufficient at all.” It was a misjudgment that such a trust group could deal with these cases. The Executive Board is now resorting to external help in order to enable clarification independent of internal party interests.

Base could decide on party executive

The Left Party is hit by the unclear situation at the top of the party after a devastating election in Saarland and before the elections in Schleswig-Holstein and North Rhine-Westphalia. The party conference in Erfurt was originally planned as a program convention, now it may become an election convention.

Several members of the 44-strong party executive want to let the base decide on the future party leadership. Saxony-Anhalt’s vice-president of the state parliament, Wulf Gallert, told the “Spiegel” that the programmatic orientation of the party had to be clarified. “For such a clarification of content, a primary election can be quite helpful.”

The Saxon state chairman Stefan Hartmann also considers the primary election to be a “good opportunity to bring the party together”. Thuringia’s member of the state parliament, Katja Maurer, campaigned on the news portal “The Pioneer” for Wissler to also vacate her post.

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